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The third season of Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer wrapped in July 2015 and since then, the comedian has enjoyed a massive level of mainstream fame, thanks largely to the box-office and critical success of her movie Trainwreck. She landed an HBO special, Schumer: Live at the Apollo, hosted Saturday Night Live, was named one of the most fascinating people of 2015 by Barbara Walters and just announced her first book, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo. Between seasons, Schumer has been everywhere — a fact not lost on the minds behind Inside Amy Schumer, who used her “overexposure” to promote the new season.
So when the team returned to the drawing board to map out season four, which premieres April 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, was there pressure to somehow acknowledge Schumer’s rising profile? No, according to co-creator and executive producer Dan Powell. “We just went in saying: Let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “That’s not to say we didn’t work our asses off.”
Here, Powell talks to THR about the power of the viral sketch, the surprising way they book their celebrity guests (like Julianne Moore and Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda) and other season surprises in store.
The last year has been a breakout one for Amy — how did that influence the show when you returned to the writers room for season four?
There are a couple sketches this season where Amy does comment on some things she’s starting to learn about fame and maybe the darker side of fame. We don’t hit on it too much because we know that’s not a universal experience, but it’s something Amy’s been experiencing and she wanted to comment on it. And frankly, we thought it’d be weird to not comment on it a little bit after the year she’s had.
Now that everyone’s watching, do you feel the pressure?
I don’t feel it now, but come Friday morning when the ratings are about to come in, I probably will start feeling it. But also, to be perfectly frank, the year she’s had took the pressure off a bit. When we first started this show, it was like, “Well, if this doesn’t work it could put a huge dent in your career — this show could either make or break you.” But now, given her trajectory and where she is and given the show’s success, we kind of just went in saying, “Let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing and have fun and not stress out too much about having to try to top ourselves.” That’s not to say we didn’t work our asses off.
Last season, there were a handful of sketches that went viral: “Last F—able Day,” “12 Angry Men” and “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup,” especially. Going into this season, what topics did you know you wanted to tackle?
In our second episode, we tackle gun violence. We have a sketch and then a little bit of stand-up and an interview in the wake of the shooting at the Trainwreck screening [last year]. Amy met with the victims’ families and felt that it was an issue that was important to her. We spoke a lot about it in the writers room and we even explored a few longer-form things, but we felt that a little goes a long way with this subject matter. Amy wrote a sketch that opens the third episode that I think hits points that we haven’t seen before in a really funny and unique way.
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